Edited and Introduced by Paul Rich
Sir Alfred Rawlinson, the son of a famous Orientalist and envoy to Persia, was himself a pioneer aviator, celebrated sportsman, and important British intelligence officer. As a colonel in the British intelligence corps, he played a significant role in the Middle East. His capture, imprisonment, and unhappy deprivations at the hands of the Turks was in its time a celebrated incident.
Since the concept of Orientalism was popularized by Edward Said, the notion that views of the Muslim world were colored and slanted by Western prejudices has revised attitudes of the British imperial cadre that were such an influence on the region. Lawrence of Arabia and his contemporaries have been much more closely scrutinized than they were by earlier generations of scholars. So Sir Alfred’s book can be read both as an eyewitness account of a highly formative era and for his attitudes so candidly expressed in this still exciting book.